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How Spark Lab is helping Kiwi businesses perform better

So, you’ve got a business. You have a website. You even have a Facebook page set up. That’s all you need, right? If only it were that simple.

Let’s be real: the digital world is where we do most business today. And, of course, we’re only likely to do even more of our business online in the future. But let’s also be real about something else: simply staying on top of everything online is like a full-time job in and of itself – and you simply don’t have time for that with everything else your business has going on.

Fortunately, there’s help – and it doesn’t require sitting through a weekend seminar at an airport hotel or sifting through a 600-page how-to book like the old days. Spark may be best known as a company that provides internet and phone service, but it’s also a whole lot more than that. Spark is aiming to make the benefits of digital services more accessible to NZ businesses. That’s why, as a part of their Spark Lab programme, they’ve partnered with social enterprise Digital Journey to create its digital assessment tool. The tool is aimed at helping businesses and entrepreneurs understand their digital position, gives them quick and practical tips and helps them get back to what their core business is all about while spending as little time as possible on tech.

Spark Lab programme manager Natalie Davis says there’s several advantages for a company to go digital. “We know that businesses that embrace technology perform better,” she explains. “There is a lot of information out there, and we know that is overwhelming, so our goal is to package up the useful stuff and make it easy to access”. Partnering with Digital Journey who have worked with over 6,000 businesses to give them the information and tools to benefit from digital services, was a no-brainer”.

Reports indicate that 50 percent of small businesses in New Zealand have no online presence and those businesses are missing out on over $1 billion that kiwis are spending online. Stuart Dillon-Roberts, from Digital Journey, says that most businesses are facing similar challenges that can deter them from taking action “The assessment and action plan is purposely straight-forward taking into account the main areas of tension we’ve found working with businesses throughout NZ. It prioritises the things that will improve a business’ digital maturity”.

What’s cool about it is that it’s all pretty easy to follow along with, too. Complete a step-by-step assessment of how your business is using its digital assets, the entire thing can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. Afterwards, you’re given a detailed summary about things you can do to improve how you’re using things like email and social media – and all mercifully jargon-free. In other words, it’s accessible to everyone.

But the Digital Journey Assessment is also for far more people than just net novices. Even experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs can get a lot out of it, since it also shows you via a graph where you’re at on the digital curve compared to the competition in your industry.

 “We are so proud of what businesses are achieving with the assessment”, says Dillon-Roberts. “In a survey last year we found that 92 per cent of businesses that implemented their action plan saw productivity improvements. Partnering with Spark is helping us reach more of the NZ business community so as many organisations as possible can benefit from it.”

There’s also a fair bit more businesses can get out of the Spark Lab programme than just the assessment. Spark Business customers get a special $200 discount on a slew of workshops and business coaching opportunities that are held throughout Aotearoa, thanks to a partnership with famed business enabler and accelerator The Icehouse. Add some highly instructive videos that anyone with an internet connection can view, along with an easy-to-follow, simple website display, and the whole experience is pretty pain-free.

“I’m looking forward to seeing more businesses build their knowledge and capability with Spark Lab and the Digital Journey tool,” says Davis. “We know this is making a difference in the NZ business community already from the feedback and amazing conversations we see amongst over 3,000 business people in the Spark Lab Facebook group.”

Seems like it's time to get online. Do your Digital Journey assessment today.